That Kind of Asking Price

Guided by Voices is not a happy camp right now.

They have fired their drummer, Kevin Fennell, and Fennell has attempted to auction off his drums for $55,000. This is not a case where Neil Peart has decided to hold a fire sale (Peart could sell his drums for literally any asking price and there are fans who would buy them, sight unseen, for vast sums). This is the drummer for a working band that is doing what it has done for a long time--they play, they record, and they have a fan base. It's respectable, and it's not a joke or anything. It is what it is, to use a phrase.

Here are some of the other details:

Now, the auction's Facebook page -- which no longer exists -- has shared an email correspondence between Fennell and Guided by Voices frontman Robert Pollard. In the exchange, posted by Pitchfork, Fennell claims he resigned from the band, while Pollard maintains he was fired. 

"You have made a fool of yourself by your asking price," Pollard wrote. "Most people would like to know who the fuck you think you are and who you think Guided By Voices is that you can warrant that kind of asking price for your fucking drums." 

Pollard also took Fennell to task on using the band's name in the auction, saying that he had "to ask permission to to use the name Guided By Voices as I own it."

Pollard goes on to insult his former drummer's abilities and he maintains that the ownership of the band's name extends to preventing someone from saying that they used to be in Guided by Voices. Which is fine, but how do you keep someone from trying to make a living or a profit from something they actually did? Fennell should be allowed to say "these are the drums I played when I was in Guided by Voices" and what would you pay to own them?

The fact that he asked too much is irrelevant. I don't know how you stop a guy from trying to making a living when he's not lying about anything. Pollard does have a case if he actually paid for Fennell's drums in some way. Were they acquired through a deal to purchase gear in bulk? Did they get a discount on the drums when they bought gear from a dealer?

That might change things. My guess is that Fennell brought his drums to the band, or bought the set he's selling from tour proceeds or something along those lines out of his own funds and now he wants to get rid of them. Stopping him from doing that isn't as easy as it sounds.

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